Southwest Florida EducationWorks
Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee Counties


October 5, 2011: A Regional Education Summit initiated by the News Press Media Group and the Public Schools Foundations of Collier and Lee Counties drew 500 business, education, and community leaders to look at the current state of Southwest Florida Education.
Key Issues (general):
  • academic reputation of schools
  • lack of communication and soft skills and critical thinking
  • need to compete globally ("not racing to complete; racing to win")
Key Issues (governance):
  • need for flexibility with accountability (de-regulation)
  • instability of leadership (turnover)
Key Issues (students):
  • lack of soft skills and critical thinking
  • underachievement compared nationally and internationally
Key Challenges:
  • funding innovation
  • disconnection between the goals of business and the federal/state departments of education
  • serving the under-served well
  • misalignment between K-12 outcomes and college readiness resulting in need for remediation
Alliance members met between October 2011 and February 2012 to identify the most important goals to position Southwest Florida education for 21st Century success. Framed against Pillar 1: Education and Talent of the Florida Chambers’ Six Pillars [], each goal has strategies, actions, timelines and measurement. The members have identified 2012-2013 as the benchmark year to allow implementation time and effects of the new State cut scores and presented the roadmap to the regional community in February, 2012.